17 Dec 2011

It's Caturday!

Kids, crayfish and a cat, living together in perfect harmony.
Annibale Caracci.

16 Dec 2011

Museum goodies

An early holiday gift from three Swedish museums: The Royal Armoury, the castle of Skokloster and the Halwyl museum? Yes, please! Link

These three museums now have an online database with a vast collection of objects from the middle ages and onwards so here is something for all tastes:

The website is in Swedish only for the time being, but to make a simple search for garments, type "kläder" (clothes) in the search field on the front page and you'll get hundreds of results.

Happy browsing!

Cristmas in 8 days...

...here in Sweden, as we celebrate on the 24th.

This year I decided to make gifts by hand to a selected few, and they are all costume related! No pics yet, in case those selected few should stop by here, but after the holidays I'll make a post about it.

So these projects have kept me rather busy lately, but every now and then I've been able to work on something for myself.

This is supposed to become a round gown of the 1790s for the 12th Night ball in January.

It's a dark navy cotton ( that looks much darker in reality)that I had planned to use for something entirely different but when I started on this project, I thought it would be perfect as the base for a masquerade gown, since the Gustafs Skål's traditional 12th night ball has a masked ball theme. I would go as some kind of Nox/Luna goddess and the dark cotton would be the night sky and the sequins stars and moons and stuff.

Except that this 12th night ball didn't have a masquerade theme! Oops. I had to think again. And unpick a lot of sequins.

I had planned to have the phases of the moon running along the hemline and I kind of stuck with that concept for the current design, but much more simplified as you see. Overall this is a very simple design compared to the real gowns of the 1790s.

As a comparison:



I know my limitations so a simple design is quite allright for me. I've still used about 1,500 sequins. I will use some more for a couple of rows on the sleeves too.

I think the cat likes it!

Anyway, is anyone else having problems with Blogger? It's very weird for me, I only have "Add image" and preview options in the toolbar and I kind of hate how Blogger is dealing with images. Aaargh!

10 Dec 2011

It's Caturday!

This cat is very much alive but it has gone to kitty heaven - So. Much. Fish! Om nom nom...

3 Dec 2011

It's Caturday!

There is a terrible pun here somewhere but I'll spare you. I have no idea where I got this picture.

How to get those big, lovely images from the KCI site

Hello everyone,

perhaps I'm the last person in the world to figure this out, but if not so maybe someone could benefit from this.

You all know how the KCI site updated their site with much, much better photos and a nice zoom feature a while ago? It's great but sometimes you wished you had a larger, full image of their beautiful garments. It turned out you can, with a little fidgetting.

I'm using the Google Chrome "Inspect element"-feature in this example, but I'll show you how it's done even if you don't use Chrome.

First, let's find a garment you want to get a full, large image of

. I choose the red and white striped gown for this example.

Right-click the image and choose "Inspect element" (as it should say if you're using an English version of Chrome).

Now a little window will open at the bottom of the page.
One row will be highlighted, but it's not important.
We are interested in the line two rows up. There's a link there that looks like this, in this case: /archives/digital_archives/photos/28_xl_AC05316.jpg Note that it ends with ends with .jpg and has "xl" in the title. Click!

Oh, shiney! A new window with a big, crisp image for your viewing pleasure will open. That's it.

Now, if your browser doesn't have an inbuilt feature like this it's still easy to find the treasure.

Right-click anywhere on the image or the text and hit "View source" or "View code" or whatever your browser calls it.

You should get a new window with a lot of code. Hit Ctrl+F to search within the code. Search for jpg.

There will only be two results and you should probably get the right result first, but make sure it has "xl" in the name. If it has, click the link, and have fun with your image!

26 Nov 2011

It's Caturday!


Nope, I've got nuffin'! But he IS interesting in sewing, I'll give him that much.

George Catlin (1786-1872) The Cat of Ostend (more interesting works on Wikigallery)

19 Nov 2011

It's Caturday!

Umm... I think I just looked into my future...
David Ryckaert III the Younger (1612-1661) Peasant Woman with a Cat 1640-42

18 Nov 2011

What I wore, and more

Oh dear, almost a week has passed since the event at Kristinehov last weekend.

It was great. Food, ale, more ale and general merry-maiking. What more would you wish for?

Isis and her beau were there, Monsieur J and M:lle Wermland likewise. And many, many more of course. It was great to see you all.

Now, I'm all for"pics or it didn't happen"... Unfortunately, I still haven't got a pocket-sized camera to bring to events like this and my phone takes the worst pictures. I bugged my husband to take pictures when I was going but he couldn't find the flash. Yeah.

But M:lle Caroline E kindly allowed me to use a few of her pictures from the evening. Thank you, dearest.

Not a dull moment!
That is me, with the huge cap (and lots of false hair!). I had a blue petticoat, which you can catch a glimpse of, and a white silk kerchief. That was it! Simple, simple, but that was the point.
You see my step-daughter Ellinor (when will you update your blog?) in the foreground. This was after her hair and cap fell off...

She looked like this earlier. It was I who did her hair (a lot of false hair there too) so I'm to blame for the failure :(

In short: it was a lovely evening and I can't wait until the 12th night ball which is the next scheduled event. I'm working on my ensemble for that already, but more about that later...

12 Nov 2011

Getting ready...

...for a night at Kristinehov! One of the wings will be transformed into an 18th century tavern/public house for this night and everyone is encouraged to "dress down" and portray the lower classes - craftsmen, soldiers, maids and such - Fun! A brewer is coming all the way from Norway to treat us to his home-made beer!
I made a jacket for this event.
I was inspired by this jacket from V&A. The original is quilted. I think my version would have looked very nice quilted, had I had the patience for it...
The tails will look better with some petticoats and a small bumroll.

I now realise should have used some stiffening in the front. It will not be perfectly smooth but I guess I have to live with that.

Hopefully I will have some pictures of me wearing it tomorrow!

And since it is Saturday... I mean Caturday!

Thomas Gainsborough - Six studies of a cat

3 Nov 2011

It's Caturday!

Is it..? A mini-Lynx! DO WANT!

Related: Do not want!

Francesco Bacchiacca (1494-1557) Woman with a Cat 1540s

29 Aug 2011

Farewell to Summer

Dear Everyone,

as you may have noticed, I haven't been around for a while. Summer and things, but mostly work and a little travel but now, at the end of August, everything seems to be pretty much back to normal so I expect to post more regularly, and that includes "It's Caturday!".

So, what's new? Not much in my case. I haven't had the opportunity to attend even one costumed event whole summer and sewing has been slower than a dead snail. Sad, but there it is.

However, that will change now! Just the other day my sewing nerve finally got struck and I pulled out my barely half-finished Pierrot from this old post, that had been hiding in shame for way too long. I even have new plans for it, but more about that in another post.

Well, I did go to one event this sumer but it was last weekend, on Friday.

A handful of girls had arranged a Midnight pick-nick in the gardens of Drottningholm Palace, and although I had known about it for months in advance, I never planned to make anything new to wear.

Instead, I settled for my 1790s roundgown that I made waaay back but never had any pictures of.

Here it is, anyway:

It's made from a sheer curtain fabric with a printed sprig design. I think it is so pretty, but unfortunately it won't last much longer. I've only worn it a few times but the fabric is so delicate and easily torn and already shows some damage in random places.

Oh yes, I did make one thing this Summer - the sash. It's a lovely silk remnant I found. Two lengths of fabric joined at the middle and painstakingly hemmed by yours truly and trimmed with a little fringe (polyester/lurex-something, don't tell!).

My hair... was quite a disaster. I had it on curlers for one night and half a day. The result was a mess so in the end I just improvised. Thank Heavens for turbans and feathers!

The gloves? Yeah, that was a little experiment of mine... They are just cheap, ugly masquerade gloves that I wanted to spice up so I tried to dye them with some of my screen print paint. The result is... interesting! Not what I was going for, but I think the green looks pretty fun with this ensemble nevertheless (and before everyone send in their congratulations - I am NOT pregnant, but the stays/dress combo certainly makes me look so!).

But, the funniest thing about all this is that I could just have worn a plastic bag and Crocs, because when I got to the pick-nick spot (about 9PM) it was already so pitch dark that it was rather impossible to tell what anyone wore! Too funny.

It was a lovely night anyway. It was still warm and calm (although very moist, so if I had managed with curls, they would have gone straight within 10 minutes!) and I heard that the yongsters stayed until the sun rose.

I, on the other hand, was offered a lift home around midnight and it was so tempting that I accepted on the spot! That's it, I'm officially Old.

And just a few more, since my husband was so nice as to take pictures of me right in front of the neighbours again:

20 Jul 2011

Ship ahoy!

Celebrity spotting in Stockholm! HMS Bounty from the 1962 Marlon Brando movie Mutiny on the Bounty anchored in Stockholm harbour for a week. Naturally, I had to take a peek!

Really, there is a ship, somewhere, behind all those tourists.

My better half and a part of the ship (which was very hard to capture in full from where we stood!).

We didn't board, partly because we were cheap, but mostly because we didn't carry cash.

Yours truly, and the ship, which have now set sails to new another shore in Europe. You can see the schedule (and much better pictures!) at the ship's website HMS Bounty

9 Jul 2011

It's Caturday!

I... don't even know what to say about this.The visit to the spinner. Israhel Van Meckenem the Younger. Ca 1495. Detail (full version here)

I'm scared. Hold me?

7 Jul 2011

Pehr Hilleström

Self portrait

Today I went to a small art exhibition in central Stockholm (the one Johanna Öst wrote about here!) and it was lovely. Several Swedish 18th century artists were featured (among some Roslin and Wertmüller) but what I had anticipated most were some ten works of my favourite Pehr Hilleström! I wasn't disappointed!

This particular painting wasn't featured

It was so great to see paintings I only had seen in books or online and so close you could make out every little detail. Candy for the soul!

You can find quite a few of Hilleström's paintings by a Google image search which is great. What would be even greater was if someone made an up-to-date book on the artist and his career because the last time that happened was in 1929!

Although a treasure to me, the book (Pehr Hilleström som kulturskildrare vol. 1-2, Gerda Cederblom, Nordiska Museet) features mostly black and white images and not always of superb quality.

Nevertheless, I have a long-term plan to scan every one of those paintings for fun and for reference. I have not come very far...

But above you have seen a few; the rest can be found in this set on Flickr. The images may not be of great quality, but enjoy anyway!

2 Jul 2011

It's Caturday!

Nothing new under the sun: kids like to dress up kittens. Kittens disapprove.Joseph Wright of Derby. Two Girls Dressing a Kitten by Candlelight. c. 1768-70. Oil on canvas. 90.8 x 72.4 cm. Private collection. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Personally, I don't trust the girl to the left...

25 Jun 2011

It's Caturday!

Last week, during our mini-holiday in Vadstena, which was a lovely little town with many historic buildings, husband and I naturally admired and visited the castle:

It looks very impressive on the outside, but was a bit lacking on the inside I'm afraid. It wasn't very much used for many a-years and that took its toll on the proud building.

So I was very glad and surprised when I found this little kitty on a huge painting by Luigi Benfatto in one of the rooms!

Sorry about the bad quality, I used my phone...

16 Jun 2011

Something old, something new

Believe it or not, but I have been working on things during my blogging hiatus. It's just that I'm terrible at documenting what I do and I don't abuse my husband's mad photographing skillz half as much as I should. There must be change.

Last Friday, I went on a small gathering with Gustafs Skål. I wanted something new to wear (well, isn't that strange!) and after much pondering, I realised that I needed something along these lines:
Perhaps minus the embroidery. For now.

So I got started and things did go rather well, but in the end there just wasn't enough time. At least I realised it before things got ugly so I decided to let it rest.

I used a fabric I've had in my stash for a long time (originally intended for my husband, but... Tough luck, honey) and based the pattern on a 1780s-90s Pierrot jacket from a Swedish book. It doesn't look very promising at this stage but I actually have great hopes for it. So it's a good thing I didn't rush it after all.

So for the event, I wore an old gown that I made two years ago (two years ago? Yikes!).

It's never been a favourite, but the sad truth is just that a lot of my things no longer fits! Isn't that wonderful? I blame delicious cake and soon turning 30.

Good thing that hats don't care about your increasing waist measure - instead of new outfit, I settled for new hat:

Sorry 'bout the tounge.

I've had the ribbon for some time and I always knew I'd use it for a hat. Said, and done!

Yes, hat pin is a bamboo skewer. I was desperate.

I'm rather pleased with new hat, but when I saw it on me, my mind started to visualise a gown in blue and white stripes... A Polonaise... Or retroussée dans les poches à la Kyoto...

It could look stunning... Or it could look like this:
I'm not sure yet. Any thoughts?

I hope you don't get too disappointed about missing out on an "It's Caturday!" post this Saturday. We're going for a mini-holiday to the old, old town of Vadstena, and since my phone is old and steam-powered, I can't do blogging stuff on the go. We're going to stay at an old mental asylum. Fun!

All the best!

11 Jun 2011

It's Caturday!

Hello all,

I was going to post about what I'm working on and what I wore to a party yesterday...

But said party has made me a little tired, now the day after, and it's a beautiful Summer's day here in Stockholm, so I think this girl with her cap and cat (which can be added to the growing category of "strange looking cats in 18th century art") painted by Johann Zoffany will have to do for now:

Victoria Art Gallery Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons. Thanks Isis for the suggestion!

1 Jun 2011

A friend has left

A friend of mine passed away very recently. I don't think I have grasped it yet because the whole idea that she's no longer part of this world is so absurd, because she was the most alive person I ever met.

I want to share the story of how I came to knew her, because it is also the story of how I got into the re-enactment and 18th century costuming business and an illustration of how I will remember her.


Once upon a time...

Back in spring 1996, I was 14, going on 15, and me and my best friend were captivated by everything 18th century. I guess we obsessed about it in that way only teenage girls can obsess over stuff.

There was some celebrating over one thing or another in Stockholm town one weekend, and part of it was an 18th century masked ball in Old Town..!
(Now imagine two teenage girls reading this announcement in a newspaper. Then a REALLY high-pitched squee...)

It was an event for all ages and with what little money we got and parents' permissions, we were on our way! Wait... Right, we needed costumes.

"Oh well, how hard can it be?" we thought. The event was only two days away, but we had studied some sewing in home economics and besides, we were finally going to get those 18th century costumes we had been craving! What could possibly go wrong?

Our mothers sacrificed old curtains and sheets so we could get started. We had no idea what we were doing, of course. I don't think we even made sketches or anything but rather relied on divine inspiration or something...

I imagine there were two late nights until we finished our "costumes" but at last, there we were on the big night of the event.

I won't even try and describe what we looked like! If I had had photos I promise I would've showed them to you, but I don't... I guess we have to settle with "second-hand-store-and grandma's-linen-closet-threw-up-on-puppy-fat-teenage-girls". Or something. But we were rather happy with our results, if I remember things correctly (then again, we used to watch Valmont because of the, in our opinion, wonderful costumes...).

You wish...

So we happily trotted away and got admitted to the premises. And then awkwardness ensued.

It didn't take us long to realise how wrong we looked compared to the other, real costumers. And it felt! No one said anything, but that made it all the worse I think, because people were just looking instead (and those weren't looks of admiration, that I can assure).

So there we were, wishing ourselves miles and miles away, awkwardest of all awkward teenagers in the world (I can't remember exactly, but at this point we were probably having a quiet argument about whose stupid idea it all had been in the first place...).

Then She turned up. She had immediately spotted two damsels in dire distress and simply walked up to us and said: "You need help! Stick with me, everything will be all-right!"

So she took us under her wings from that night and for many other nights (and days) to come. If it wasn't for her, I'm sure I would've never gotten the courage to try and get involved in 18th century re-enacting in the first place, and I would definitely not have dared to join Gustavs Skål! I only hope I may return the service to another person some day.

When I left the 18th century scene, she and I still kept in touch and when I realised I couldn't live without it for another day more (that was three years ago or so) I turned to her again for some encouragement and guidance. And she was there for me, yet again.


I think the story above says so much about her. That kindness was one of her sides, and she had many! I'm sure everyone of those who met her could tell a different and unique story about her person because if you could ever say that a person was "one of a kind", she was it. I could live for another 1,000 years and never meet her likeness again. Like all interesting personalities, she was complex and she had her difficulties in this life. If anything, I hope she has found peace of mind, because I think she never quite did in this world.

I am going to miss her so much.

Painting by Pehr Hilletröm, 1790s. I think of her as the lady to the right.